There, I said it. I have bipolar disorder. Does it define me? No, it does not. Is it all of me? No, it certainly is not. It has however, taken up a great deal of my time, energy, and effort throughout my life, and it has indeed made my path a difficult one to travel.
I am often unsure as to whether my life was affected more profoundly prior to or after my diagnosis. By that, I mean to say, previous to my diagnosis, I never thought much about the chaos that was my life. I was content in believing that my choices, my actions, the tumultuous beginnings and endings of my relationships, and my extreme behaviors were just who I was. My choices and changes a result of my past, my intense and deep personality, and my ability to change my life at the drop of a dime. My successes were never little successes. They were big; in some cases larger than life. I was driven, not manic. I was a victim of circumstance in my periods of sadness, grief and remorse, not cycling down into a depressed mood episode. In my eyes, I was simply reacting to my surroundings, not creating them. When I was restless in my life, I made changes. When an idea entered my mind, I went for it with all I had. I was strong in my mind’s eye. I was resilient. I did whatever made me happy. What I didn’t realize was that behind me, I left a path of destruction. Destruction that involved not just me, but people I loved.